Albums to watch


Frank Ocean


Second studio album from the New Orleans-born R&B singer features guest vocals from Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Jonny Greenwood, André 3000 and James Blake

ADM rating[?]


Boys Don't Cry / Def Jam
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   The Guardian

    Whatever you may think about Blonde, it’s undeniably one of the most baffling, contrary and intriguing records put out by a major pop star – not just this year, but any year
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  2. 10.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    He absorbs his influences, pours them through a strainer, and then filters that product once again. Frank Ocean is more than his voice, and Blonde sees him illustrate all the ways in which he’s a true artist
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  3. 10.0 |   The Skinny

    Blonde has survived the media frenzy: it's a dignified, down-tempo celebration of taking all the damn time you need to get something done that's worth doing right
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  4. 9.3 |   Paste Magazine

    Beautifully more simple than any of our mythmaking delusions, Blonde is Ocean’s life as he experiences it: fluid and fluctuating, one man in motion. This is what freedom sounds like
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  5. 9.1 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    On the whole, Blonde is more assured and consistent than Channel Orange. It inherits the bagginess of his overstuffed debut, but lacks the thrill of groundbreaking novelty. Frank Ocean is an outlier, an artist who can produce an album this phenomenal and nevertheless fall a bit short
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  6. 9.0 |   Gig Soup

    'Blonde' isn’t an album that can be concisely written about; these are rich, multifaceted songs that know when to keep the listener at arm’s length, and when to pull them in close
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  7. 9.0 |   Exclaim

    Blonde is chaotic. Vibrant, it colours outside the lines. Poignant, it's transparent with altering modes of bravado, vulnerability and desperation
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  8. 9.0 |   God Is In The TV

    It confirms once more just how essential Ocean is as an artist, not just as a singer-songwriter. It seems likely that this album will feature highly on End of Year polls, and that is utterly deserved
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  9. 9.0 |   Pitchfork

    These songs are not for marching, but they still serve a purpose. They’re about everyday lives, about the feat of just existing, which is a statement in its own right
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  10. 9.0 |   The Music

    Blond feels like a full realisation, a flower in bloom
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  11. 9.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    The multiplicity of spins and perspectives Ocean draws out of love stories, social commentary and self-reflection is payoff enough to return to the album again and again
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  12. 9.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Blonde is a strangely pertinent album. But it never screams its message – if you can really call it that. It’s never didactic or instructional or overbearing; importantly, it never treats its listeners as stupid
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  13. 9.0 |   musicOMH

    Blonde is often a bit of a sprawling mess, but with some patience it becomes one of the most rewarding albums you’ll hear all year
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  14. 9.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Uninterested in zipping from A to B, it is instead a moving, repeatedly devastating depiction of an artist who is still trying to figure out his place in the world as he moves forward in life
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  15. 9.0 |   Clash

    Four years ago Frank Ocean was responsible for a landmark R&B record. He may have accomplished this very same feat once again
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  16. 8.5 |   Under The Radar

    Much of the rest of Blonde is far less accessible than its predecessor. And that's not a bad thing
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  17. 8.5 |   The Quietus

    If you value artistry at all, you would do him an injustice by not taking your time with this record. Grossly cloying as it is to reiterate, try and “be present” in it. You get the feeling it’s what Frank Ocean would want
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  18. 8.5 |   PopMatters

    Take 1: A piece of art that can only be made by Ocean himself (8/10) Take 2: The sound of an artist urging his listener to be patient, and in this age of instant gratification, it is a refreshing, rewarding triumph (9/10)
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  19. 8.3 |   A.V. Club

    Blonde stays focused almost exclusively on one thing: love of the unrequited or secretive variety
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  20. 8.1 |   Earbuddy

    He’s most representative of the current generation of R&B: ambitious, talented, well-connected, and perfectly willing to collaborate
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  21. 8.0 |   Beardfood

    Was it worth the wait? Yes, but a masterpiece it is not
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  22. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    It may lack a certain focus and go on a little, but there are gorgeous depths if you care to delve
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  23. 8.0 |   The FT

    The album is suffused with nostalgia for the past — sexual memories, old friendships — audible in the old-fashioned organ vamps and hints of Stevie Wonder that surface in these abstractedly constructed songs
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  24. 8.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    Blonde is not of an instant, even if somehow all four years of waiting and working seem to have taken place in the last weeks of August, at summer’s end, right now
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  25. 8.0 |   Q

    These records might not eclipse Channel Orange, but they have their own mercurial gleam. Print edition only

  26. 8.0 |   American Songwriter

    The kind of overflowing musical statement from which an artist needs time to recharge and for which an audience needs years to properly appreciate
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  27. 8.0 |   Uncut

    A window into the soul of an artist who's just as fallable and worried as the rest of us. Print edition only

  28. 8.0 |   No Ripcord

    Comes into the currently unstable music industry with an air of importance, and defiantly so, indulging his free-roaming mind and doing so with prudence and patience
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  29. 8.0 |   Crack

    An album concerned with time in a wholly different fashion – not how it passes, but how it changes and changes us in the process
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  30. 8.0 |   State

    Some of Blond(e)’s earlier tracks seem lightweight in comparison to the album’s more substantial high points
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  31. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    The album is by turns oblique, smolderingly direct, forlorn, funny, dissonant and gorgeous
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  32. 8.0 |   NOW

    Blonde’s musical arrangements, which are dominated by guitar and keys, seemingly emphasize his preference. Only a handful of songs are beat-driven, but the electronic sounds are subtle and organic
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  33. 8.0 |   DIY

    Few records need to be unpacked as slowly as ‘Blonde’. It will take months for the dust to fully settle on 2016’s most long-awaited album
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  34. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Blonde is every bit the rich, densely layered album fans were expecting from Frank Ocean
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  35. 8.0 |   Mojo

    It’s a beguiling, meandering sprawl that rewards total immersion
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  36. 8.0 |   Spin

    In 2016, art doesn’t make us feel safer. It just amplifies our most vivid feelings, and Blonde is a wholehearted, not obtuse, argument against clarifying them
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  37. 7.0 |   All Music

    An undoubtedly reactive work, this is undiluted and progressive nonetheless
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  38. 4.0 |   The Independent

    Virtually the only time the album comes to life is when OutKast’s Andre 3000 bursts through the torpid meniscus to deliver a brief but animated rap on the minute-long “Solo (Reprise)”
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Frank Ocean: Blonde

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